tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 5, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
no part that i traveled over, that was green, did i not see it fully utilized by humanity. i was shocked that even the alpine regions had dance and roads. the people terraforming the earth became much more obvious. the most shocking thing on this front __ these ancient riverbeds. when you take a flight over the earth, you see crops __ i did not realize the whole world looks like this.
that was a test. my father had told me stories from sky lab about he had always seen the fires in the amazon and people were clear-cutting it. i hadn't thought about it for 35 years. i remember when i was a kid, there were a lot of tv things about it about save the rainforest, shockingly you don't see much these day. boy, is it still burning and so was big areas of the green belt through central africa, but for me, the great epiphany came on this day. this was probably day eightish. it was the first time i had after having that information about the earth pour into your mind, i finally saw a place i
knew personally very well. there is my house off a lake in austin, texas, i could also see houston where i grew up around nasa. i could see the gulf coast where i played on beaches as a kid, up in dallas where i had driven many times, i had driven and walked and biked those areas intimately. i knew the size of it. i knew how big it was. at the time, i could see the whole earth and suddenly that moment i went i now know the true scale of the earth by direct observation. at that moment i had this very very physical reaction where it felt a lot like, you know how in the movies they will have an actor in a hallway and the camera might dolly backwards and the lens will zoom in so the hallway appears to collapse around him even though the actor was the same size. it was the same way. the earth didn't change size out the window.
it literally was my conception of the scale of the universe kind of collapsed and suddenly the earth to me became finite and small. and for me, one of the first people i compared this story was was charles who describes all of the same series of events except the punch line. to him, his punch line was at that point he said the earth is unimagineably huge, so he had literally the precise opposite final conclusion, but otherwise the same, very similar buildup. maybe some of the other folks who have thrown have had a garage who have flown -- some of the other folks who have flown have had a similar one, i would love to hear it before you all leave what yours were. to me, this caused me upon my return, i always would have described myself as an environmentalistist. it caused me to go back and my impression of being in space is that we are using fully all of the fresh water that falls on the surface of the earth and we are extracting fossil water at a rate that is not sustainable and
while you could desal nate -- desalinate water, and we do, that, of course, takes energy and as we know, energy is probably the only other problem on earth that's bigger than fresh water and all it does is throw problem number two into problem number one. i'm going that seems to me like a formula that's not good. i thought that's my impression, but i want to see if objective data matches my subjective impression and there are websites now you can go on and look at the natural productivity of the surface of the earth that are now very well monitored by satellites and the things that appears to be true is in fact true, that we are already now using at about 1-1 the maximum natural capacity of vegetable growth, vegetation growth on the surface of the earth which i think is kind of a shocking statistic that really was inspired by looking outed -- out the window. it really has kind of redoubled my interest in becoming a good steward of the earth and participating in and being involved in environmental activities. i think that is where i will
stop for today. so thank you. [applause] richard, did you show a shot of your kid? >> no, i didn't. >> is there a way to do that? >> on my iphone. >> when you guys come up to get him to sign something, it's beautiful, the baby. second question, did you say anything about when you first saw the earth and you didn't think you were in orbit? >> i didn't tell that story, my first view was not the he fifth any, i finally made it, nobody stopped me this time to gee, i hope we're in a perfectly circular orbit, yeah, i did tell them. >> questions, guys, yes, back there. >> hi, you were mentioning --
there i am. charles had asked me a question a while back and i said i don't know. you might be a good one to answer for this kid. when you're up in space and the sun is shining but you're looking away from the sun, can you see the stars while you're orbitting around the earth? >> what is interesting is you can see the stars looking away looking like in space because again there is nothing, as long as you don't have light in your eyes or in your field of view, which is hard to do on the space station by the way, there is lights on all the time. i had to go to an air lock where there is a window to get dark time. there is enough other parts of the space station to reflect light that would also mean you couldn't see the stars. on the occasion you can get light out of your front field of view, yes, you can see the stars. it's interesting to note, there is about 100ish windows on the i.s.s. and 90 of those aim straight down at the earth. 10 aim horizontally in one
direction or another and zero of them aim up into space. i thought it was odd there was literally zero, at least at the time that i flew. >> another question? is that it? stacy has a question. >> richard -- >> i'll repeat her question while we're waiting for the microphone. stacy was asking she understands there was a geocatch on the space station. first of all, how many have even heard of a geocache? quite a few. i have been in geocaching since it was invented, somebody put a geocash by my house. why are people coming by my house? >> i put a geocache on hydrothermal vents under the ocean, the deepest and made the highest which is on the international space station, locker number, service module locker number 182 i believe is the geocatch.
and when i put it up there, i sort of did it on the sly. i didn't really ask for permission. do you mind if i put a log and a travel bug here on the outside of this locker. i'm going to use it as a geocache that people would have added and sub tracked things from, the answer would have been nyet, nyet, nyet. a lot are geocachers. there are two or three others that pick up from that geocache in space. no one has visited my undersea one yet. >> one more question, who hasn't asked a question today, have you not answered a question? ok, your question. >> have your experiences impacted your convictions about
environmental issues, pollution, global warming? >> absolutely, i would actually say that the -- my understanding of the science hasn't changed much. i was already a believer, you could say. my personal lifestyle was, the one charity i give to, it's called the nature conservancy. it's a great a apolitical way to get land put into good stewardship. in my personal life, i have four or five acres of st. augustine grass that i irrigate from a deep well. these are all things i used to have. i used to have probably six cars, none of them were energy efficient. i had a pond out of my house, a pool, irrigation and stuff going on, large house, not
particularly efficient, my electric bill was scary large every cycle and i still am a huge user of amazon done.com, so the amount of cardboard boxes that come to the front of my house is enormous much to my wife's chagrin. after my flight, as opposed to being a poster child for the wrong way, i can afford to take the time and money to find out why, how close to if not 100% zero impact it is possible to become and in a way that is not particularly lifestyle impacting. i don't believe that people will choose environmental causes environmental strategies and let they are not sacrificing lifestyle. -- unless they are not sacrificing lifestyle. for example, i put all of my life -- i switched all of my
life's too led. all the way down to buy a group editable -- biodegradable trash racks. trashbags, i would like to use biodegradable trash bags but the formfactor they are shipped in about 50 bags stacked on top of each other. they don't have a role and they don't have a drawstring. i will use them because they are inconvenient. but it is really just packaging and distribution. i have been consulting on that and saying, look, here is some first-hand knowledge that i'm gaining. these are easy things to adopt that no one will adopt until you fix these with easy solutions. >> we are going to take a break and then we will come back with the moon walker, charlie duke, to finish. a big round of applause for richard gary. [applause]
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] flex more from the explorers club in just a moment. c-span will be live this afternoon with my secretary josh earnest. we will have that at 1:00 eastern time. and 114th congress gaveling in tomorrow. we will to the swearing-in of members and election of the house eager. the senate will be life on our companion network, c-span2. you can track the gop as it leads on capitol hill and have your say as events unfold on tv radio, and the web. and on c-span's facebook page, you can weigh in on the top issues for the 114th congress.
you can weigh in at facebook.com/c-span. tonight on the communicators three technology reporters review the big issues of 2014 and the key communications and technologies issues facing the new year. >> the chairman isn't expected to unveil his proposal until february or march at the earliest, which gives an opening for republicans in congress to introduce a bill about net neutrality of their own. what will the chairman do in response? is that going to was -- to force him to move more quickly? or will he be in a position where he will have to do some horsetrading and negotiation with conventional republicans? that is not clear yet and something we will be watching in the early year. >> i think the fcc will come out with some final rules on the neutrality.
president obama came out in support of reclassifying broadband service under title ii of the communications act. it would essentially make it treated like a utility. of course, broadband as a group is opposed to this. there is a lot of pressure on chairman wheeler to go that route. with a few next few months what they do. and then fight is not necessarily overridden when it's on the books. they will be lawsuits from industry, especially of chairman wheeler does what the president wants. what's we are talking about net neutrality against the backdrop of the committee geisha's update, which is a big multiyear effort that republicans in congress have -- the communications update, which is a big multiyear effort that republicans in congress have been working on. we could see some of that very thing and it's a congressional total for the republicans to use to push back on any net neutrality rules that they think are an overreach on wheeler's
part. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on communicators on c-span2. >> in 1979, charlie dukes was the voice of national -- nasa's missing control, helping apollo 10 of the moon, and he later walked on the moon himself on the apollo 16 mission. he recently sat down at the explorers club in new york city to talk about based travel. this is about an hour and 16 minutes. >> charlie duke and i did an exploring legends almost two years ago now, so i feel very comfortable with him. of all the moon walkers i've met, he is absolutely the most charming and nicest of guy. you'd never know this guy walked on the moon, ever. last night at dinner, i mean he's just a normal guy. but make no mistake. this guy has the right stuff. he went up on apollo 16. they spent a lot of time on the
surface of the moon, driving around in the rover. that was the second to the last mission to the moon. 17 followed that. but charlie was the youngest and tenth man to walk on the moon. and i just have to say, this is going to be a lot of fun interviewing charlie. so welcome charlie duke! [applause] >> thank you. thanks a lot. thank you. >> all right. before charlie was famous for apollo 16, he was famous for apollo 11. and you won't know his face, but you'll know his voice. when those guys are running long and the fuel was running out charlie was the capcom. he was the guy communicating from nasa control center to neil and buzz. so i guess nobody better to take us through those tense minutes than charlie. talk about 11. and remember, take us back. >> before i do that, first, jim, good to be back with you in the explorers club. it's always a pleasure to be invited to have the opportunity
to speak to the members and the public. and so thank you for coming. and i hope you enjoy our 45 minutes, an hour, or whatever we have here together. so i was very privileged to work on apollo 11 and mission control. the team that was on apollo 10 that did the lunar activation and checkout, of which i was the capcom, we just sort of moved over to apollo 11 for that same phase. and the only additional thing was going to be the landing. apollo 10 went through the descent, didn't land. came back up, aborted. then rendezvoused. well, we're gonna do the whole thing. and so i've got to give mission control credit during this descent. and all of the troubles and problems that they had on apollo 11 on the descent.
mission control actually saved the day on just about every mission. those 1201, 1202 warnings -- >> that could have aborted? >> not really. >> we thought so. >> i thought so. this was abort. oh, no, computers frozen up or something, so it was a computer overload alarm that i didn't recognize. but the gnn guys did. and they said we're going, that alarm. the apollo computer had a set compute cycle. and it cued up the jobs. and if it had too much to do in that milliseconds or whatever it was, it just dropped off the last jobs, told you it was overloaded, and it flipped back to the beginning. and so it started down the cue again. and so that's what was happening with these computer launches. but first, we had communications. data dropped out, all these
problems, when we started down. so we had to reorient the spacecraft a couple times to get an antenna that was really good. so then the computer alarms came and then at pitchover, which was 7,000 feet -- about 7,000 feet above the lunar surface, the vehicle pitches down, and the crew can see the landing spot for the very first time. and neil apparently looked out the window and said, this doesn't look right. and it didn't look right. we were targeting him into a boulder field. they didn't get any pictures of that, but neil said it's impossible to land. so he leveled off. about 400 feet, if i remember, above the lunar surface and flew horizonly over this boulder field, pitched up to stop his forward velocity. then from about 400 feet basically started almost a
vertical descent. >> and, of course, this was using fuel in and all that uses a lot of gas. >> and so we were getting -- we had a fuel abort, a fuel percentage abort, if you will. so the first call was 60 seconds. so the propulsion guy said flight, 60 seconds. i said, eagle, you've got 60 seconds. and meaning he had to land in the next 60 seconds. and then the propulsion guy said, flight, 30 second. and i said, eagle, you've got 30 seconds. >> now, guys, remember, he's the only guy communicating from earth to the moon at this point. so neil and buzz are listening to this. 30 seconds. >> yeah. and i had been sort of talking them down, if you will. and as a little aside to that, before all the tension arose i'm talking. and i'm giving up dates to the
crew and everything like that. and dick, who was our boss, was right next to us, right next to me in mission control. and he hit me on the right shoulder, if i remember, the right elbow, and says, charlie shut up and let 'em land. >> ha ha! >> that didn't get out to the public. but that's what happened. so anyway, i'm just giving them these calls. and so things are really tense. i had never felt some tension in mission control. and i'd been there, apollo 10, 11. i was there 13 and 17. and we had never felt any tension like that. and it got dead silent, as i recall. i started a stop watch. and 13 seconds later, buzz aldron said, contact, engine stopped. and it was sort of a pause.
and we knew they were on the ground. and the data said, okay. it looked okay. and about this time, neil comes up and says, houston tranquility base here. the eagle has landed. and i replied, roger, twang. and i corrected myself. i was so excited, i couldn't even pronounce tranquility. and so it came out twang at first. then i ended up saying "twang-quility." and i said, we copy on the ground. you've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. we're breathing again. and that was the truth, at least i was holding my breath. are we gonna make it? now, neil had to write stuff. if i'd have gotten to eagle abort, 20 feet off the moon, he wasn't going to abort. i guarantee you. he was going to land that vehicle on apollo 11. now, if he'd have been 1,000
feet in the air, that's a different story. but they were really, really close when we got to the 30-second call. and right after that, buzz was saying -- picking up dust, shadow. all of that stuff. so we knew they were close. when i called 30 seconds, it looked like we were going to land. so depending on what data you look at, we probably landed with 17 seconds before the abort call. now, that doesn't mean they were out of gas. it just means -- abort. throttle 100%. abort stage. that fires up the engine, and then back in orbit. well, of course you don't want to do that 20 feet off the ground. so he's going to land. >> well, of course, you guys who are space aficionados, you hear charlie's voice on those tapes. it will be there forever.
you just heard it from the horse's mouth. and i also had buzz up here on mother's day a couple years ago describing the descent. and the exact same thing. we were standing and i was trying to give neil this body language, like land the damn thing. at the same time, he's at the controls and i don't want to make him nervous. so it was tense. but charlie took america and the world through that. >> it was a great honor. right after that, we went off duty. and for the step onto the moon one giant leap for mankind -- one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. i was home watching it on t.v. like most of you guys. yeah. [laughter] when i was a young kid. >> now i'm going to go forward. i'm not going to cover too much of apollo 16 here, because charlie has got the most amazing movie to show you guy, and he's going to narrate it without any sound. so he's going to play it and narrate it, so you're going to hear it from the horse's mouth. but i know that you guys do
everything pretty much scripted to what nasa gives you, by the minute. but you went off and you did something that wasn't scripted. and you almost paid for it. >> oh, yeah. that was at the end of our stay on the moon. we'd been there 71 hours or so. no. not quite that long, at that point, because we had to get back inside. anyway, we were closing up. and apollo 15 had done an experiment, hammer-feather, and they both hit the ground at the same time. allen sheppard hit a golf ball. everybody had this little skit or whatever they wanted to call it. so 1972 was an olympic year. the olympics were going to be in munich in august, so we were going to have the moon olympics. we were going to do the high
jump and the broad jump, i think it was. we're running behind and mission control is pressing us. so it's in the movie here. we start the bounce. and john says, yeah, we were gonna do the olympics but we don't have anytime. and i said, yeah, we are! and i start to bounce. and when i do, i straightened up. now, the backpack weighed as much as i did, so over i go, backwards. and i'm like four feet off the moon when i start over backwards. that backpack is carbon fiber, with all the plumbing, all of thing regulators, all of the oxygen, all the cooling water. and if it breaks, you're dead. and so that thought came through my mind. i'm in trouble! and as i started scrambling, i fortunately rolled over to the right side and broke my fall but bounced onto my back.
and my heart was pounding. and john came up and looking down at me. he said, are you okay, charlie? or that wasn't very smart charlie, or something like that. and he helped me up. and i'm beginning to calm down a little bit, because everything seems okay. you can hear the pumps running you know, and the pressure looked okay. but my heart was just going. and about that time, i looked up and the t.v. camera was looking right at me and they'd seen this stupid stunt in mission control. >> you knew you were in trouble, boy! >> dorothy was -- back then, they didn't have much t.v., you know, realtime for the moon walks. so they would allow our family to come into mission control and sit in what they called the v.i.p. room. and she sees this thing on t.v. and it was quite frightening, i guess, to her and to mission control. they really got upset. and they said, that's it.
no more moon olympics. and so that was the end. but i still hold the record for -- >> how high was it? >> about four feet, i think. [applause] too the high, i'll tell you that! [applause] and so another aside, i have a twin brother, an identical twin brother. i think it was the second eva, or whatever. my brother was there. he's a physician. so the flight surgeon, he's invited into mission control to watch us on the moon. so we're up there on this big t.v. screen in mission control. and my brother walks into mission control. i found out later. and it was a show-stopper, you know! [laughter] >> wait a minute! what's this? he looked at me. and everybody knew me in mission
control. >> maybe we faked those moon missions, huh? >> no. we really did it. but anyway, we had a couple of funny things like that. growing up with a twin brother especially as an adult, i'd go back to our hometown, like 8,000 people in lancaster, south carolina, and i'd walk down the street, and his patients thought i was dr. duke. so they'd stop me, dr. duke, how are you? i've got this little problem. wait a minute! you've got to wrong one! >> when you guys were growing up, before you married your lovely wife dorothy, did you guys ever switch dates where you would pretend like you were your brother and -- >> no, we never tried that. >> what are some of the things you guys did do? >> well, we lived out in the country. and my dad bought us an old double-barrel shotgun. and we used to walk through the woods hunting rabbits.
we would fish together, play golf together. my brother had a heart condition from birth. it was never repairable. open-heart surgery wasn't realizable back when we were kids, so he never got it repaired. so the only sport he could do was golf, so we played a lot of golf together. and he would ski, snow ski, in the mountains of north carolina. he couldn't make colorado, that mountain height, the altitude. but lower mountains, he could do. so anyway, we had a good time. >> we touched a little on this. i ask all the astronauts and adventurers. but fear. it seems to me that the most afraid you were on this mission was when you almost fell on your backpack. but a, was it? and b, how do you deal with fear? because you fighter pilots, you can't let it cloud your judgment. >> the only time i had fear on apollo was in that instance.
we were well-trained as richard knows and the other ones cunningham can tell you. we spent thousands of hours in a simulator. i probably crashed a thousand times on the moon, in the simulator. [laughter] but i knew how to fly that machine, at the end. and i knew how to handle emergencies. so we mostly had a positive attitude. we're gonna handle it. >> well, you did, but didn't one of your crew mates have a less positive attitude? >> well, mattingly, he was a "what if" guy in the command module. what if this happens, what if that happens? but it was a great blend for our crew. it balanced us out, you know. i was more of a guy, ah, press on! we'll get it done, you know. and he was more conservative but a good balance for our crew. and i think every crew had to work like that.
and it was -- fear is not a bad emotion, if you handle it right. fear gets your adrenaline pumping. and if you panic in fear, you're dead. but if you don't panic but respond with training, when that emotion hits, it's going to help you, actually. and so that's what happened when i fell over. i knew i had to roll right. >> and that adrenaline got moving and you did what you had to do. >> yeah. >> all these guys today have described the view from space. but you have the particular vantage point of having been on the moon. tell us what it's like looking out when you're on the surface of the moon. >> well, it's a different viewpoint. to me, it was -- you looked up. and it was a big contrast between this beautiful desert of the moon. probably one of the most awesomely beautiful places i've
ever seen. the thought kept occurring to you, nobody's ever been here before. but you see this rolling terrain, which craters and rocks, blocks and rocks everywhere. and it's a sharp contrast between the gray of the lunar surface and the blackness of space. and there is so much reflected light on the lunar surface that you look up, and you can't see any stars. none are visible. and while you're on the moon, in apollo anyway, it was always daylight. so from sunrise to sunset, two weeks on the moon, we were there 72 hours, so it was always daylight. it was like early morning on a moon day. so the sun was getting higher and higher, and you could tell your shadow is coming in, as you stayed. but this brilliant reflection of the lunar -- the sunlight from the lunar surface basically in
effect blots out all of the stars. we were in the center of the moon, a little east, about 15 east and 9 south. so we were the farthest down in latitude anyway of any of the landing sites. we were up in the mountains of the moon, if you will. from where apollo 11 landed to where we landed was probably 8,000 feet difference in elevation. and so we were up there. and it was -- so landing -- my point was landing in the middle of the moon, i didn't see the earth from the moon, because i look up, and i'm looking at the top of my helmet. it's a big fishbowl in an apollo helmet. so the earth was right overhead, just about right overhead. so you don't see it, as you stand on the moon.
but in orbit, of course, you have this beautiful earth rise. and it comes very, very quickly. and as sunrise does also. on earth, i only got to see one sunrise. we only orbited one and a half times, but you see the sunrise and you start to see the glow out there of the sun, light rays being reflected through the -- refracted through the upper atmosphere. on the moon, there's no atmosphere, so bang! you've got earthrise. i mean sunrise. and the earth is the same way. all of a sudden, this orb begins to float up from behind the lunar surface. and when we were there, it was -- when we landed, it was a half moon in the sky to you. and when i looked up, i saw a half earth. and my recollection is the polar ice caps and clouds, hardly ever got a blue of the ocean.
occasionally during that day before we landed. but let me switch back to departing earth. we left over australia. and in the film, you'll see a picture that i took. it's a still picture, but they made it look like a video. but it's -- you can see almost the whole circle of the earth. and the arctic circle, the ice caps down across canada, the united states, mexico and central america. that was the land we saw. and the land was all brown. you could see the rocky mountains, the coast of california, the southwest united states. yucatan. and those kind of landmarks. but no evidence of civilization.
and you could see -- as we were about 20,000 miles away, of course the whole circle of the earth was visible. and there is this jewel, just suspended in the blackness of space. and there's so much reflected light from the sun into the spacecraft, you look out, and even though you're looking away from the sun, you don't see the stars. so on the way to the moon, there is no night. it's always -- the sun is always shining. and so you keep track by the clock, the ground elapsed time as you lift off. the clock starts. so it counts up one hour, two hours, three hours, four hours five hours. and your flight plan is based on that clock. so to get to sleep, you put up some opaque curtains and turned the lights out. in apollo, we all slept together, because that's just the way the flight plan worked. i slept underneath the seat, my couch. john young was up in the tunnel,
leading to the lunar module. and mattingly, he mostly had the head set on, and he was listening to mission control, if they had to wake him up due to some problem. and he slept basically in his seat. and so i don't know about richard, but it took me a while to get used to zero gravity sleeping. i was waiting for my head to nod off and it just doesn't happen. so fortunately, underneath the seats, there was a -- the seat strut and the floor. it created a little angle. and i stuck my head underneath there to get some pressure on my head, then i finally drifted off to sleep. once we got on the moon, our original flight plan told us to be -- to power down, put on our backpacks and go out and explore right after we landed. unfortunately, we were six hours
late landing, so we didn't get a chance to -- they changed the flight plan, because they computed, well, six hours late landing, three hours to get ready, seven, eight hours out on the moon. back in. they're going to be up 35, 36 hours or whatever it was. so they said, that's too dangerous. you'll be too foggy or whatever. >> did you agree with that decision? >> we did at the time. >> you say, no, i'm going to sleep? you could actually sleep on the moon before you went out there? >> well, hard to do. but i put up my hammock and john puts up his hammock. and we take off our suits. and we lay down, in my eyes, like this. i'm ready to get outside. and i hear john snoring a little bit. and he's off to sleep. and i can't get to sleep. and so i decided i was going to take a sleeping pill. so that first night, i took a sleeping pill and that got me four hours' sleep that night. >> what kind of pill was that?
>> sentinel, was what it was. ambien, going like that, was invented back in. -- was not invented back then. it was a no-hangover pill and not so strong that it knocked you out, that if you had an emergency, you could respond. >> last night, we were talking about decisions and who has the most votes. and you had an interesting analogy. you and don had a number of votes. but your commander, john young had a few more votes than you did. so if somebody wanted to do something -- well, talk about that hierarchy. talk about what mattingly wanted to do on the way back. >> on the way back from the moon -- we called him ken then. tk now. he had been in the command module. he wanted to fill his helmet with water to see what a helmet full of water would behave like. [laughter] at zero g.
well, i mean, he said it's not going to get away, but we started discussing this. and i -- he wanted to do it. so it was one vote for. i was sort of iffy, so i abstained. and john cast his 40,000 votes and said we're not doing that. >> so the point is he's got 40,000. you and mattingly had one vote each. >> he had to make the decision yes. >> on the moon, you're only on the sunny side. what is the temperature fluctuation between -- >> surprisingly, it was all thermal engineering. we never took a thermometer to the moon, not once. not once did we measure the actual temperature of the surface. it was all the computer, and equations driven. they knew the radiation history of the sun anyway. when we landed, probably the
archl temperature of the -- average temperature of the surface was about 85 degrees fahrenheit. when we left, it was probably 230 fahrenheit. so the higher the sun gets near the equator, the hotter the surface gets. and the plastic, if i remember -- and our helmets, we had a temperature limit of 250 fahrenheit. so we had to be back inside before we got to that average temperature. the only time i remember feeling any heat was i did -- i had a strap on my backpack that was cutting into my suit that was pinching the insulation. and i could feel the radiation heat from the sun at that point. otherwise, you couldn't feel the temperature of the surface through your boots or anything like that. i didn't remember. we had one experiment -- not the
solar wind collector but it was a similar experiment. it was propped up and mounted about perpendicular to the sun's rays. and when i picked that metal frame up with my glove, i could feel the heat in my gloves from that experiment. but other than that, what you really worried about was your body heat. you had to get rid of the body heat. and working in a space suit, we had a limit -- if our heart beat got to 140, i believe it was they made you rest until your heart beat came back down again. but at # 140, you're working pretty good. you're generating a lot of heat. so the liquid-cooled garment had to work. and it picked up this body heat and took it to a sub limitator and took the hit with it. -- and flashed it off into a gas and took the heat with it.
>> i don't want to go too much into the movie, but how many pounds of rocks did you guys bring up? and then i'm going to can you a follow-up -- i'm going to ask you a follow-up questions. >> we brought back like 213 pounds. it varies, depending on which text you read. 98 kilos or something like that, maybe a little less. but we brought back a bunch. the earth weight was about 20 pounds. >> just between us, have you got any of those rocks? >> i don't have any moon rocks, no. we had to turn them all back in. i didn't try to swipe any. coming back, we had these little pebbles floating around the spacecraft and i picked that one up, stuck it in my pocket, you know. a few hours later, another one would float by, and i would put it in my pocket. so when i got home, i had this jar full of moon rocks, little fragments about like that. i showed this elm to the kids. and they -- i showed them to the kids, they said, dad, we've got
moon rocks. i said, well, look at them now because i'm taking them back tomorrow when we get back, so i turned them in. >> oh, man! >> but nasa finally -- it was not quite 40 years, but they finally said we're gonna give you a moon rock. however, you can't keep it. [laughter] you've got to give it to a museum or a nonprofit or whatever. well, i'd chosen to give mine to my prep school, admiral academy -- admiral fared itfarragut academy in st. petersburg, florida. by the way, that is the only school in the united states that has two moon walkers graduate from it. >> who is the other one? >> allen sheppard. back then, they had a north campus where he went, 1941. and i'm class of 195 3. but we both graduated from that
academy. >> well, that's a pretty cool school if you want to be an astronaut and walk on the moon. i know you and your wife dorothy are christian ministers. you traveled around the world. i think you have three and a half million delta frequent flyers miles or some ridiculous amount. >> seven round trips to the moon on delta airlines and they won't even give me a ticket. >> charlie is a good guy too. he flies economy. he doesn't need first class, all that stuff. but talk about what you do, what you and your wife do, as you travel around the world and you do ministry. >> well, it was a late coming, our faith. we were -- i've always believed in god, that out there somewhere was god. but it wasn't real in my life. it was just sort of a sunday ritual. dorothy, the same way. and the moon flight was not a spiritual experience. i didn't feel any closer to god than what i thought
i needed. so it was not a philosophical experience. it was a great adventure that i'd love to do again, but i'll never have a chance to go again, because while we did apollo in eight years and two months from announcement, today you can't even write your proposal in eight years and two months, much less do it. so anyway, due to some problems in our marriage, dorothy was in depression, suicidal. and all of these things. and some people came to our church and started sharing their faith about the reality of the power of god to change a life. and so she gave her heart to jesus. and i watched her change. a couple of years later, i went through that same experience. and it so transformed our marriage and our life. we started getting these invitations to come share our faith, all over the world.
so the only place we haven't visited is antarctica. we would like to go. i don't know if katie is still here or not. yes, there she is. i want to go pick up some of those meteorites. >> we didn't get to keep them either. >> i know. [laughter] so anyway, it's transformed our life, the last 35 years or so. we've been walking around the world with a pallet. we've been leaders of nations to dirt floors in africa. it's been a very rewarding opportunity to share the peace of god with people all over the world. >> one thing i want to say is, katie, i skied to the south pole once. i did the last degree. the thing they kept telling us was, if you see anything dark on the snow, it's a meteorite. so three days in, i'm all excited.
i said, look, i've got to unclip and go over. so i went over to this dark spot. and the guide is laughing and i don't know why he's laughing because i just found a meteorite. i bent down and it's a little piece of frozen poop, from the chinese expedition, that was supposed to be keeping these things in their bags and they weren't. so i never found a meteorite. but i had a great time looking for one. charlie, are you still chairman of the astronaut scholarship foundation? >> no. i did my two years. >> talk about it, though. >> well, it's a great group. it started, this astronaut scholarship foundation was started by the original seven astronauts, who now only one is left alive, john glenn. >> he's our honorary -- >> and anyway, they all gave up $1,000 each. they gave out this money to reward college kids.
it's grown and grown and grown. and richard, you're on the board. richard is on the board. i'm now on the board. i was a chairman for two years. and what we do is raise money to give to -- well, right now we're at 28 universities. we've got five potential expansions. and we give -- so it will be 33 $10,000 scholarships to each university every year. and jeff hoffman, who is an m.i.t. professor, he collects all of the applicants that are screened by the university. and they send us two. and our committee celebration one of the two -- our committee selects one of the two for each university. very rewarding to see how this has affected these kids. and the competition for these
scholarships. one way we raise money is auctions, like you're going to do in a little bit. another way, we auction off space artifacts. people donate things. we also auction our time. go scuba diving with charlie duke or -- >> $16 grand, baby. >> yeah. or go skydive with gibson or play golf with al warden. so it's all of these people that donate their time. and these people pay to come spend a day or two days, or whatever it is, one-on-one with an astronaut. it's been very effective. and so i've enjoyed being on the board. but the chairmanship was a little bit more active than i thought it would be. so i'm glad i only volunteered for two years. i'm happy to be on the board. but it's a big job. >> hell, i'm on the board here,
five years, and i'm ready to get off of just the board. what we're going to do is i'm going to ask charlie one more question. then he's going to narrate this fabulous movie. we're going to come back and open it up for the audience. the theme of today, put the history of manned spaceflight into the context of the cold war. a lot of people, we all thought this is exploration. this is whatever. but it wasn't so altruistic, right? this was do or die back in the 60's. >> we were getting the socks blown off of us. sputnik, we were second, taking rear seat on all of those original accomplishments. so president kennedy asked nasa, what can we do to beat the russians? and there's a 14-page paper that was written about the way we
could beat is go to the moon. that werner von braun wrote. out of that and other discussions came the apollo program. the announcement -- of course, the decisions probably took a lot longer than that, but the announcement was just two weeks after allen sheppard's flight. i was a young lieutenant over in germany. and when i heard this announcement, i was like, ha! we're gonna do it. >> never in a million years, did you think you were going to be walking on the moon? >> never. nor did i think i was going on the an astronaut. -- was even going to be an astronaut. too young, too inexperienced. but they kept needing more guys. so we were the fifth group of astronauts. 19 of us selected. with two chances to go to the moon, slim and none. but, you know, we had eight
fatalities back then. john glenn retired. scott carpenter retired. gordon cooper was thinking about it. so anyway, with the fatalities and the groundings medically and other reasons, we just sort of bubbled up into the mix. and three of our group were moon walkers. so it turned out that i was very fortunate. >> who were the other two? >> ed mitchell and jim irwin. and fred hayes would have been had they gotten -- had they landed, but apollo 13 blew up. >> but it was serious business back then. >> yeah. >> a lot of young people don't get it. >> the decision to go to the moon, i think, was more driven by politics and we're gonna win this race rather than the science of it. it morphed into one of the greatest scientific efforts of mankind. we left a lot of experiments on the moon that ran for several years.
and we learned an awful lot about the origins of the moon, the interior of the moon, the cosmic radiation, all of these kind of things. and so it turned out to be a great benefit not only to our economy but to basic science. and as arthur clark said science fiction writer, a thousand years from now probably the only thing this generation is going to be noted for is landing on the moon. >> and lady gaga. i'm sorry. lady gagging, is the way i call it. okay. we're going to play charlie's movie. he's going to narrate it. then we're going to come back and do more questions. is that all right? >> that's fine. >> i'm going to move over so i'm out of the way. you're going to narrate. >> yeah. i think we need to get... >> can someone bring the screen down?
okay. >> okay. this is 14 minutes of apollo 16, from liftoff to splashdown. >> can we turn on charlie's mic? >> testing, testing. >> the little thing on it. >> i think it's on. there we go. okay. >> this is fascinating. wait until you hear it. >> before we start, let me just say that all of the nine missions to the moon, and we all flew the apollo saturn five, the biggest rocket to ever successfully launch, and if you've never seen one, they are huge. it was 363 feet tall, 33 feet in diameter, and weighed 6.5 million pounds, fully fueled. and the engine, f1 engines
there were five of them at the base of this thing. they were pushing with about 7.5 million pounds of thrust. and so with that, let's start this film. and so it will start at liftoff. and we'll go through quite a bit of the liftoff. and like richard said, he couldn't hear it. we couldn't hear it either. what we did have was this great vibration. and it took eight seconds for the engines to build up the thrust. and so ignition started minus eight seconds. at zero, they let go. it was bolted to the -- those holddown arms, there were four of them. so it was very, very slow acceleration at first. and we had about two tons of ice on the side of the vehicle. and by the time we cleared the tower, all that ice was shaken off.
and we were shaking like crazy on the inside. the first stages, from here down, it lasted in our case two minutes 41 seconds. and at the end of that first stage shutdown, we had burned up four million pounds of fuel. so well over half the weight of the vehicle was gone in the first stage. and the vibration never changed intensity. it never changed frequency. it shook like crazy. the windows are covered over at this point, so you can't see outside, except for the hatch window, and it was behind me, so i couldn't look back and see out. so we were just flying. i didn't have any flight instruments. and i was a little concerned about the vibration. but john was very calm. we're go, houston. mission control says you're go apollo 16.
and so we went. and this was a long-range camera from around kennedy space center. and on board, this is actually not a manned flight. this is an unmanned flight. but i want to show you the separation, as the first stage falls off. you can imagine the explosive charge that it took to separate 33-feet diameter piece of aluminum from the rest of the rocket. so from the earth, there's the train wreck. we went from zero, four and a half g's to zero at that point. and that big flash went by the spacecraft window, and you could see it. here's the first stage. puffy clouds. florida is back over here. and the second stage is ignited. this is a picture i took. i think it was 16,000 to 20,000 miles away, coast of california here.
baja california. the rocky mountains here. the southwestern united states mexico. this is the yucatan. florida is back over here. and this is cuba right here. and you can see the arctic circle over there. the space station has, what, 10,000 cubic feet of volume? we had 300 cubic feet of volume, including all the instrumentation and storage. this is what we lived in for three days. more dramatic zero gravity things from space station and skylab but -- and the space shuttle -- that's a flashlight. we were trying to get steady and not move, but you can't do it in space. you'll notice everything floating. our food was mostly dehydrated. but the space shuttle, you saw
liquid earlier and this is great juice that takes the shape of a sphere in space. they have a flying and anna -- flying banana. spin that banana and you get some stabilization. it took apollo 72 hours to arrive at the moon. that was because of the fuel budget. you are going so fast that we did not have enough fuel to slow down and get back out of orbit. they shot us out way out in front and allowed gravity to slowest down until he got into the moons sphere of influence. this is a hatch beneath the instrument panel. open the hatch and get out act words on your hands and knees down the ladder, on to the foot
had. from the foot pad to the door was about 15 feet. the module late about 39,000 pounds. during descent, i think we used about 17,000 pounds of fuel. the command module, you can see the windows. the picture that i can recall, the rendezvous of the spacecraft out here -- we were six hours late landing and i will explain that later. here we are 7000 feet up. we started picking out a landing site. i'm talking john down and we are fully manual control about 20 feet off the ground, we leveled off and started blowing the moon dust out. these electrical probes, they turn on this little blue like you say contact and then you
drop in the last three or four feet. the dust cleared instantly since there is no atmosphere up there to swirl the dust around. looking out to the northwest this is a place about eight miles away, too far for us to go in the rover because the rover broke down, you would have to walk back. we figured five miles was our limit. we had film magazines, no digital cameras. this magazine had dust on it, so i'm blowing the dust off through my visor. once i realized that, i said what an idiot you are. i didn't tell anybody about that, but i felt like i was really a dummy. we put the tv camera up on the car and the camera was mounted on the car.
all we had to do was turn it on and it was controlled by an engineer from mission control. he could zoom in and out, pan around and elevate. here i am with the flag and john comes out for a salute in 16 gravity. we weigh about 60 pounds up there. his balance was outstanding. if i would have tried that, i would have followed over backwards. this is my most embarrassing moment of the whole flight. i'm walking out and i've got this barbell. on the right and that you see closest to the camera, there's $10 million worth of mood experiments right here. i bounce around and they fall off. i ruined the whole deal. maybe they didn't see it. [laughter] but the camera was pointed right at me and i had to fess up.
fortunately, in 16 gravity nothing was damaged. notice the dust on the moon. it's very fine like counter -- like powder. it's actually pulverized rock. there's no organic material on the moon. but since there's no atmosphere, use kick the dust up and it flies up and lands. i'm drilling age or -- drilling a hole into the moon here. two of them were for this heat flow experiment. he unplugged the electrical power. this was the grand prix. about three minutes long and it's the only film that shows the rover underway. this is normally what you see. you can see it really bouncing
across the moon. you can see it was not very good here. if you fall on the stomach, you are ok. you can rock up and do another one and that's pre-close. and then one more is up. we fell down a few times. notice the dust -- the suit is getting gray from the bottom up. by the time we got in after the last eva, the suits were totally gray. we usually collect samples together. it was a more efficient way to document the samples we had to do. that's a rake.
here i am trying to do by myself with a shovel. not very successfully as you can see. why i did not -- i cannot tell you, but that rock was going to go in the bag. i've flipped it up and grabbed it that i dropped the bag i was putting it in. we had a few little miscues. one of the bigger rocks on the moon. this one is about 10 feet tall. i'm jogging back toward the lunar module. these mountains back over here we called the smokey mountains. the farthest we got away with north ray crater, about four and half miles. here's my famous moon jump. that's john and here i am in he's talking, he goes and then i go and you can see over backwards.
let me tell you, that was scary. mission control doesn't know what happened. i've fallen behind the seats and it takes john a little while to get me up. when i appear, mission control is relieved and i guess dorsey would say -- dorsey would say -- no more of that, get in. i left the picture of my family on the moon. this is our only son. charles had just turned seven and tom was just about to turn five. this is not us. this is apollo 17, but the guy running the camera finally got it right on apollo 17. so up we go and our flight, we would have been out of the frame.
there's a second and a half delay. he punched the button by the time the signal gets to the moon -- it's a second and a half later. he finally got it right on apollo 17. we rendezvous at 100 kilometers 60 miles up. it took about an hour. we eventually jettisoned the lunar module and started our journey home. by the time we got home, you did not see but a thin sliver of the earth. reentry -- the last time i noticed the computer, we were accelerating through 38,800 feet per second. that translates to 26,000 miles an hour. apollo came back in. we had lived, we did not have wings like the shuttle, but we had an offset center of gravity
like point to five -- .25 list over drag. you could fly it on autopilot and manually to land where you wanted to land in the pacific. we had 7.5 geez -- 7.5 gs on reentry. apollo was 7.5 macs but it from the real quick. 23,008, the shoots came out to stabilize and make sure you are right side up. at 10,000 feet, the main chutes came out. you can make a successful landing with only two of them, which apollo 15 did. that was the only failure of the parachutes in all of apollo. so we come back with about extends of us and about 200 pounds of moon rocks. we called it splashed down but it was really crash. we hit really hard for some
reason. i'm looking out the window and i am and listening to mattingly and my head is up and i said when he gets to 100 feet, i'm going to put my head back. when he called 100 feet, we hit the water. i had whiplash -- i saw stars. i had to push in a circuit breaker on my right knee -- you can turn the lights backup, if you would. then he could jettison the parachutes. by the time i got the circuit breaker and, we were upside down. apollo would float right side up or upside down. it was stable in both the jewish and's. but the hatch was underwater and you couldn't get out. we had some inflatable balloons and an air compressor and it
took about 15 minutes. by then, they ended quarantine so we didn't have any quarantine after the mission. they put a flotation collar around the vehicle and got back on the aircraft carrier. the first thing we did was say thanks a lot for picking us up. then we all went to take a shower. [applause] >> let's hear it for charlie. >> every time i hear that, i get these bumps. when you watch that and you'd narrate that, can you believe you did it? >> oh, yeah.
it has never been a dream. it's not like some vision i had 42 years ago. it's always been believable. the romantic part i have, but i've been there and i can take out my landing site -- it's the left cheek of the man in the moon. >> you did a spacewalk on the way back. talk about the spacewalk a little bit. >> that was spectacular. mattingly had a whole suite of experiments to do that were stowed and operated back in the service module. there were two big mapping cameras and some other camera back there but this film canister weighed 80 pounds down here on earth and he had to retrieve it.
we did that on the ninth day. we all suited up, he gets out first, it goes to the back of the service module and i float out and hook my feet on the side of the hatch. i am his lifeline, making sure he doesn't get tangled up in the engines. i'm mesmerized with the beauty of this and i look at 180,000 miles away, the earth is just a thin sliver. i wonder what the moon looks like and write up here, it was in norma's, a gigantic moon, almost full. -- and in norma's, -- a norma's.
i was out there and i get back inside -- to set the stage here, on the second day, mattingly had lost his wedding ring and our spacecraft. it's in here somewhere because we haven't opened the door. but we could not find it. six days later, he's still looking and on the ninth day i'm in the lower equipment bay and mattingly is 10 feet away on a biological experiment with his back to me, beautifully highlighted by the sun's rays. all of a sudden, i get this glint of gold and i look and there's his wedding ring floating out of the hatch.
it was zero pressure, but the spacecraft out gases. that is what was happening. this residual gas was moving the reading -- moving the wedding ring out of the door. i grabbed for it and missed it. it took about three minutes, but it floated out and hit him on the back of the head. around ring and around helmet -- what's the probability you go get a 180 degree pounds. that ring started back toward the hatch and with very little velocity -- three or four minutes, maybe more. it finally floated act into the hatch and right in front of my face, i grabbed that thing. i had it on my little finger -- i said i found it for you.
>> that is a great story. [applause] let's open it up now for some audience questions. raise your hand if you have a question. i see richard has a question. >> after apollo 11's near running out of fuel, to take more fuel on later flights? >> we had a bigger lunar module, so we had more fuel because it was heavier. they were designed to stay for no more than 30 hours. we were designed for three days. it was a little longer, so we had fuel because we were heavier and it was going to take a little longer to land. ascent fuel was the same.
we landed -- i remember john said we've got 4%. we had about 3% or 4% when we landed. but with a heavier lunar module, i think the dissent took a little longer. >> could you talk -- could you tell us about the lunar rover? >> the lunar rover was an ingenious design. the storage area for the lunar rover was five by five. on the outside as you face the hatch and latter it was on the right side, that quadrant. how do you get a 10 foot vehicle in a five foot square?
what they did was they engineered it so the chassis was in three pieces. beyond the instrument panel, which was our foot well, it was hinged. right behind the seats it was hinged. they took the front wheels and folded it over onto the instrument panel. the rear wheels came in and they folded up over the seat which were collapsed. so you have four wheels touching. they did it with the wheels toward the spacecraft. we pulled off the mylar and we were just looking at the bottom of the lunar rover. john, he was first out and pulled the tens that held the rover there. that was only pinned to the
bottom. he got on his side and i got on my side and we had a set of police, which was really a jack screw. it pushed the lunar module out like this and when it got to 45 degrees, it pulled the pins and the things unfolded. it worked. so now it looks like a car and we lowered it down to the lunar surface and an 10 the front side from the vehicle. it picked it up and just walked out with it and turned around. >> i'm a speed junkie. i want to know how fast you got that thing going. >> it's hard to say. the odometer had a maximum
reading of 17 kilometers an hour. we were all scale high. apollo 17 did the same thing. we got the record -- they said we've got the record, so we've agreed to share the record. >> i'm interested in your childhood and any interest you had in space exploration. were you into astronomy or anything when you were a youth? >> when i was a kid, it was long before the program. growing up in those little town in south carolina after world war ii, i did not go out in the backyard and tell my mama i was going to walk on the moon.
mama would have sent me to the psychiatric hospital back in those days. but i can remember it high school watching some of the first contrails i've ever seen. the jet age was just starting back then. i looked up and said it would be nice to make a contrail. that started me thinking about the military. my dad had been in the navy during world war ii, so i decided i wanted to serve my country in the military. i chose the naval academy but i was in flight school in 1957 when sputnik went up. it was october 4. my birthday is october 3. it was a dig deal, i cannot member that. a few years later, i'm in germany when the first group of
astronauts were announced. little did i realize that once i got back to m.i.t. for a graduate degree -- i fell in love with airplanes at the naval academy, so i became a fighter pilot in the air force. then they sent me back to m.i.t. and the m.i.t. had to build the apollo guidance in what was then the instrumentation lounge. i did my master's thesis on that and got to meet number of the astronauts coming up to monitor the development of this system. they were so pumped up and enthusiastic -- this is the best job you could ever have. i decided i could do that, what do i need to do? i went to test violet school and moved from boston to edwards. it was a year out there, almost two years then we left for houston and i got selected.
it was a stepping stone. i really, really wanted to be an astronaut. maybe it was out there. any other questions? i've got one more. >> just a question on your take on the potential in a fit humankind can get out of exploring the moon. the second part of the question is where do we really stand with regard to our progress? we're still in the analysis phase. >> to good questions. i think a lot of the benefit in space is twofold from the moon flights. apollo was the basic science we generated.
six different experiment packages plus the orbital experiments we did. the other was the technological breakthroughs that were done to make apollo possible. i had just gotten back from the 100th anniversary and it was an economic presentation. apollo generated 88 times the return on our investment. that's a good deal. i see that in the future. new technology is going to have to be developed to take us to mars where we can not only explore mars but have reliable systems that would work. i would like to see us go back
to the moon again. i think there are things we can do in the moon scientifically. on apollo 17, jack schmidt is dying to get back to mining helium three. it's a fuel that leaves no radioactive decay and there is a lot of it up there and not so much down here. a lot of things can be generated and i think the moon would be a great place for a scientific base permanently manned, just like we have in antarctica today. i think that would reap a lot of benefits if we could do that. i don't see a real strong program to get out of earth orbit right now.
did you mention about the russians that are going to fly circum-later? that's the first i have heard of that. the only spacecraft we have developed is orion. this first flight is supposed to be unmanned. a new rocket that is 110 tons capability. some people like it, some people don't. the commercial side of it is paying big dividends. it's what nasa has always done. they made the design and we bought their design. normally we would give them a design and have them build it and say how much is it going to cost? that got a lot of skin in the game.
elon musk, those guys at spacex -- but to make it possible, it's going to be government money that is going to end up making it possible as an economic model. they get that -- spacex and knowing have signed contracts -- boeing have signed contracts to supply the space station over the next few years. it is picking up again and i think we are getting some interest. if they are successful, it's going to be really neat. >> before we wrap it, we will clap at the end for charlie but i want to thank everyone who has come out today to this great event, for the ham radio contact, from presenters, walt
cunningham, greg olson and charlie duke, i want to thank everyone that cochaired this with me and it would not have happened without them. i'm sure there are a lot of people i can think. brian henson came all the way from texas by himself. that's the cool. becky nichols, alan nichols presidents wife is back there. becky is always here. just everybody thank you so much. the explorers club is a cool place. come and see us. we don't just do space stuff. we do see, ocean -- primates. i'm a space nut, so i don't know what else we do.
a big hand for charlie duke. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> c-span is standing by to take you live to the white house briefing room for the first reading of 2015. running a little behind schedule. this was supposed to start at 1:00 eastern time. >> good afternoon, everybody. nice to see you all. i hope you are feeling as rested and recharged as many of us at the white house.
i don't see too many tanned faces in the audience. happy new year. i don't have anything to start so let's go straight to your questions. >> congress comes back tomorrow with republicans in charge. i'm wondering if the president has spoken to mitch mcconnell or the republican leaders while he was in hawaii or since he's gotten back and does he have any plans to meet with them this week? >> i don't know of any presidential calls that occurred while the president was in hawaii. i believe both the president and the incoming senate majority leader were spending time with family over the holidays that i suspect the president will have an opportunity to sit down with congressional leaders in the first couple of weeks they are back here. i don't have a specific date at this point but i anticipate this is something that will happen if not this week, that a week or two after that. >> he has occasionally spoken to the republicans at their retreat. does he have plans to do that?
>> i don't know whether he has been invited. i know that is the plan but i don't know whether the president will attend. >> one of the first things macaw says he plans to bring up is the keystone pipeline. there'll be a hearing on wednesday and house plans to vote soon. the president was noncommittal when he was asked about the details. he said let's take it up in the new year. we know this is coming up. if congress sends him a bill forcing him to move forward on the keystone pipeline, will he veto it? >> am going to reserve judgment on legislation until we actually see what language is included in that specific use of legislation. i will say he did discuss this at the news conference at couple of weeks ago and he did note that the pipeline would have what he described as a nominal impact on gas prices. he was concerned about the impact it could have on carbon
pollution and the contribution it could make to carbon pollution and the negative impact that has on the public health of people all across the country. and the impact that has on our ability to build committees across the country as we see weather disasters were some in the form of wildfires. that only adds to costs. the president does harbor those concerns. pipeline projects like this in the past have resolved in a fairly straightforward administrative way. it was constructed to evaluate a project and determine whether it's in the national interest of the united states. previous pipelines have been considered in this one should be considered also. there is an outstanding ruling we are waiting on from a judge
in the state of nebraska to determine what the root of the pipeline would be if it is built through the state of nebraska which means there's not a finalized plan on the table yet for the final signoff. we have in the past taken a rather dim view on attempts to circumvent this process. i am not prepared at this point to issue a veto threat related to that specific piece of legislation but we will look at it with all of those things in mind. ask is it fair to say the president would be urging democrats to vote against the legislation? >> we will see what the legislation actually includes before we urge them to vote one way or another. >> representative steve scully's apologized for speaking to a whites supremacist group 12 years ago. does the president believe he should stay in leadership?
>> it's the responsibility of the house republican caucus to choose their leaders. in previous situations come we have seen members of the conference make a case that who they choose to serve in their leadership says a lot about who they are, what their values are and what the priorities of the conference should be. we have also heard a lot from republicans over the last few years, including the chairman of the republican party about how republicans need to broaden their appeal to young people, to women, to gaze and minorities. that this excessive the party will depend on their ability to rot in their outreach. it will ultimately be up to individual republicans in congress to decide whether or not elevating mr. scully's -- mr. scalise.
>> does the president feel it is appropriate? >> president feels it is their decision to make. there is no arguing that who republicans decide to elevate into a leadership position says a lot about what the conferences priorities and values are. ultimately, he reportedly described himself as david duke without the baggage, so it's up to republicans to decide what that says about their conference. >> the afghan president said in an interview broadcast on sunday that the united states should consider re-examining its timetable for pulling troops out of afghanistan. is that something the white house has discussed with him and is this something the u.s. would consider? >> what the president has been clear about is where our strategy in afghanistan is. that we are now in a situation
where the combat mission in afghanistan for u.s. military personnel has ended. the afghans are solely responsible for the security of their country. there's an enduring presence in afghanistan to carry out to other missions. the first is a counterterrorism mission. we continue to see remnants of al qaeda that have designs on destabilizing the region and u.s. interest. we also continue to cad for u.s. military personnel to play an important role in training and being afghan security forces to take the fight to those terrorist elements and preserve the security situation in the country of afghanistan. a lot of hard-won gains have been made afghanistan as a result of the bravery of u.s. military personnel and our coalition partners. many of those accomplishments are due to the effective coordination between the united states poetry and afghan 30
forces and we want to see that coordination continue even as afghans take full responsibility for the security situation. still working out the cobwebs from the layoff. >> [inaudible] >> as the other part of the answer that is also important. we continue to have military personnel in afghanistan to carry out these two missions, the counterterrorism and training missions. it is indicative of the ongoing commitment the united states has to government of afghanistan that we build a strong working relationship with the unified government there and countries around the world who have invested so much in afghan security continue to be invested in the success both political and economic of the afghan people. the united states is prepared to
continue that partnership, but as it relates to the strategy associated with our military footprint, we have been clear about what that strategy is. more importantly, the commander-in-chief has been clear about what the strategy is. >> oil prices continue to fall. is the white house concerned about this trend and what is your reaction to it? >> i will say a couple of things about that. i'm always very hesitant to draw any conclusions or offer any analysis about movement in the stock market. i know there are some who have observed this is a chicken and egg thing -- that some of the fallen energy prices is a direct response to a weakening in the economy and a fall in the stock market. it may not be that one is causing the other.
what i will say more broadly is we have talked before about why we believe falling gas prices are not as a -- are as a general matter good for the economy and good for middle-class families that are being pinched and when they go to the pump and see the prices at the pump are up to one dollar cheaper than they were last year, that means more money in the pocket of middle-class families. that's good for middle-class family that the president believes is essential for the success of arc on a. it's also a testament to the success the u.s. has had over the last several years in part because of the policies put forward by this administration to increase reduction of domestic oil and asked. it's a testament to some of the policies this administration put in place five years ago to raise fuel efficiency standards.
>> i understand all of these things you want to list but as the white house concerned about the economic implications of this fall in oil prices? >> we talked about this at the end of last year. we are always monitoring the impact any sort of policy area would have on the. it is something we are watching. as a general matter, speaking broadly, the impact of falling energy prices has been good for the u.s. economy. >> any response to the recent statements by north korea and are you surprised at the nation of some of them, that they are coming from a state even though the that state is north korea? >> is not particularly surprising. we have seen comments from north koreans in the past. as it relates to the subject that has received so much attention in the last few weeks,
the hack of sony pictures entertainment, the administration spoke pretty clearly at the end of last week about putting in place a new economic sanctions regime against three north korean entities and 10 individuals as part of our proportional response to that specific hacking incident. >> the speculation that has been out there from some analysts that it might have come from somewhere else besides north korea, does the administration see no merit to that sort of statement? >> this investigation is being conducted by the fbi. they have devoted significant resources to this and have their own area of expertise when it comes to these matters. they have come to the conclusion based on the evidence that north korea was responsible for this and i don't see any reason to disagree with the conclusions they have arrived at. if you have questions about how they arrived at that, you can direct that to them.
>> the president called this an active cyber vandalism. but there's a review going on as to whether north korea should be on the list of state sponsors of terror. does that mean there's a possibility the president would reconsider what he calls this hack or is the review of north korea possibly being on the list based on purely other acts? >> it does not mean the president is reconsidering the way he talks about this. what is prudent is our national security team is always reviewing the actions of nations like north korea to determine the proper policy response and that includes putting them on the state sponsor of terror list. there is a specific technical definition for how states or why individual companies -- why individual countries should be added to that list.
we will work carefully to determine whether the actions taken by north korea meet that very specific technical definition. >> the fact north korea is not on that list and cuba is, both are under review. that does not say a lot about that list and its weight. >> i think it might actually say quite a bit about the weight of that list. the fact that we takes it seriously those nations that do sponsor acts of terrorism, that they are in a very small club, but that is a list that you don't want to be on and it is a list we take very seriously as we formulate a foreign policy that protects the national security interest of the united states. we take a very deliberate approach when determining whether a country should be added or removed from the list. it's an indication of how serious a matter of state
justin? >> i want to go to to mitch mcconnell. he in an interview this morning said the single best thing the republican congress can do is not mess up the playing field for 2016 for the republican presidential nominee. i'm interested in the inverse of that question. is that president obama's number one priority heading into the next two years? to what extent is preparing the democratic party for 2016 and the leader that pursues his vision, is that on your agenda? conversely, to what extent are you trying to spoil mitch mcconnell's plan? he wants the republicans to seem less crazy. >> scary, i think. typically, the beginning of the rings a time for optimism when we set our sights high and really pursue our grandest ambitions will stop we may new
year's resolutions for ourselves about how we're going to read more books or go to the gym more often. suggesting they are going to be less scary is not the highest ceiling i can imagine for their legislative accomplishments this year. a worthy pursuit nonetheless. what i will say is the president does have innovative ambition, a lot he has to try to get done this year. over the course of this week even, you will hear the president talked quite a bit about steps he can take to strengthen our economy particularly to benefit the class families. the president believes our economy is strongest when we grow from the middle out. i think you can expect to hear the president talking and detailed fashion about some of the executive actions he can pursuit and the legislative proposals he believes deserve bipartisan support.
this is a little different than what we have done in the past. as we get closer to the date where we actually get to the speech, we will see more of a preview than we have in previous years. it is indicative of the kind of energy the president is feeling and optimism the president is feeling, that we can build on the kind of momentum we are seeing in our economy right now to put in place policies that would be good for middle-class families and the broader u.s. economy. our democrats and republicans going to agree on every aspect of the president strategy? probably not. are there some things we feel like we could work together to get some things done that will be consistent with the ambition of both parties and consistent with a strategy that would be in the best interest of the countries and middle-class families with country? i think we can. in that same interview, senator mcconnell talked about finding new ways to invest in and for
structure, he talked about policies we could put in place to open up dark its -- open up markets for u.s. businesses, and he talked about tax reform. there does stand a potential for bipartisan agreement and the president will pursue them. the president will pursue other things the republicans may not like that he can do on his own. >> i'm actually interested in the extent to which this is starting to enter your calculations lyrically -- calculations politically. [inaudible] >> the president, as you may have heard after the last term elections, the president sees it a little differently. today marks the beginning of the fourth quarter of his presidency. as the president is an avid
basketball fan, he has observed a lot of things happen in the fourth quarter. it's true not just in an nba basketball game, it's true of a presidency. he wants to make a true of his presidency. that, i think is why the president you will see him pretty energized and will have an ambitious list of priorities he wants to achieve. we are going to look for opportunities to work with republicans to make progress on those priorities and where republicans don't agree, you will see the president take decisive action to make progress on his own where he can. that is, i recognize, not a significant departure from the strategy we have employed in last couple of years. but i think you will see the president be even more energized and determined to make progress on behalf of middle-class families. that's the reason the president ran for this office in the first place and he's going to spend a
lot of time focused on that in the fourth quarter of his presidency. all that is to say the presidential election in 2016 is quite a ways off and the president believes we should be focused on the kinds of policy priorities that will benefit middle-class families. there will be plenty of time for politics. >> i'm wondering did the president have a reaction to hearing about these rallies or the things you attribute it to him -- have you had a conversation about it? does he think he should resign over this? >> i-8 can tell you -- i can tell you i feel confident in relating the president does believe ultimately it's the responsibility of individual members of house republican conference to decide who they want to elect as a leader of their conference.
certainly who those elected leaders are says a lot about who the conferences and what their priorities and values are. they are going to have to answer to their values are as to someone who describes himself as david duke without the baggage and as to whether that's somebody the house republican conference on stupid forward. >> do you see the omnibus as the model where you will start to see legislation that may have something you really don't like but you are going to sign it anyway because it's the best compromise your going to get? >> that is a good question. i would anticipate anything the most substantial pieces of legislation we hope to get that will necessarily be compromises. it does not mean those pieces of legislation would include things we strenuously oppose, it just may be the legislation does not go quite far enough but is a positive step and the right direction.
either of those scenarios would be an acceptable definition of a compromise. i would anticipate when we are operating in an environment where we would -- we have a republican in charge of congress a democrat in charge of the white house, compromise is the name of the game. the president certainly hopes republicans will pursue our work together in that spirit. >> the country possibly police union today said the national hate crime statutes should be expanded to include attacks on police officers. does the president agree? >> i have not seen that statement. it's something we will have to consider, obviously. we condemn in the strongest possible terms any possible violence against police officers. just a couple of weeks ago in new york, we ciber is an act of violence that really shook that community in new york.
even here a couple of weeks later, our thoughts and prayers of everybody at the white house continue to be with the families of those officers who were killed in that terrible attack. i think the question is ultimately what are the kinds of things we can do to make it safer for police officers to do their important work? these will be among the things considered by the task force the president appointed at the end of last year. they will be holding their first public meeting next week and they will hear from the representatives for social organizations because the president believes building stronger bonds of trust between the community and law enforcement officers sworn to serve and protect that community is in the best interest both of
place officers and citizens of those communities. trying to find that common ground and looking for best practices where other communities have been able to identify that common ground be part of the important work of this task force and the president is looking forward to their findings. >> back to north korea -- there have been doubts raised by analysts raising doubts whether north korea was responsible for the hack. is there some consideration to the classifying the evidence that shows it was in fact north korea that has done this to put some confidence in the finding of the fbi? >> i would be remiss if i did not point out there were a couple of private sector organizations that have endorsed the findings of the fbi. people who have looked at the evidence and come down on a couple of different sides. what they are dealing with here is something that is be sensitive. the evidence they have reviewed
and obtained by making it public does give a strong indication to the north koreans and other bad actors about the techniques we used to investigate and attribute these kinds of attacks. it is a tricky business and i would not rule out the fbi may be able to be more transparent about their findings, but i would refer you to them in terms of what they feel like they can comfortably release without undermining some of the strategies they use both to protect our infrastructure and to investigate intrusions. >> by using the phrase "cyber vandalism" is the president downplaying the significance of this? it sounds a lot less serious than terrorism. >> i get sounds less serious but
the president takes this attack as something serious. it had a serious financial impact on this american company. it obviously had a serious impact on some of the values we hold dear in this country about freedom of expression and freedom of speech. it was not the president in tend to downplay this at all. i think the president was looking for a way that most accurately described what had occurred. >> to other topics -- the news over the weekend that boko haram has taken over a nigerian base on the border with chad. how much confidence does the white house have the ability of the nigerian government to deal with this threat? how significant do you think the threat of boko haram is and is there any role for the united states to do anything about it? >> i will say a couple of things about this. there is obviously a
counterterrorism cooperation between the united states and a number of countries in africa, including nigeria. that kind of cooperation has been valuable in the past in trying to help central governments in africa and other places in the world combat some of these extremist elements in their country's. that counterterrorism relationship is ongoing. the clearest manifestation is the deployment of some military personnel on the ground in nigeria to try to help recover those girls who were kidnapped from the school relatively early last year. that work is ongoing. this is very difficult work and we are going to continue to cooperate with the nigerians as they try to do a better job of securing their country. >> is there any indication that cooperation is not working at all? first of all, the girls have not been rescued. on the other side, boko haram
seems to be on the march and have asked -- have actually overtaken a military base set up in large part to fight a boko haram. doesn't it show whatever cooperation we have with the nigerians is not working? >> it shows they face a very serious threat in nigeria. the united states does have this relationship with nigeria that we value, a military to military relationship and we share some other intelligence assets that have been deployed. this is certainly something we are concerned about. >> one last question on the cuba deal. the cuban government agreed to release 53 political prisoners. do you have an update on how many of the 53 have been released? have they all been released and who they are? ask it is my understanding not all of them have been released at this point.
-- >> it is my understanding not all of them have been released at this point. the cuban government decided to undertake this on their own and it would take place in stages. >> are they going to follow through on this? there are reports cubans have arrested some additional -- >> there's no reason to think they are walking back any part of the agreement, but we will see if we can get you more details. >> how concerned is this administration and how closely has this administration been bartering what is going on and -- on wall street right now where the euro has reached its lowest mark in nine years and the dow has gone below 300. there is concern about instability with the greek government and greece will abandon the euro. how does the white house look at this? >> we are always monitoring movements in the financial markets, but in terms of
describing what may be driving those fluctuations in the market, i would not speculate on that. this administration has been working very closely with our partners in europe to deal with some of the financial challenges they have faced over the last several years. both are linked to some members of the eu, but also as it relates to the broader economic trends over in europe. you recall that the chairman of the president's counsel economic advisory spoke at this podium a couple weeks ago and discussed some concern about headwinds from europe, their weakening economy, certainly not in the best interest of the u.s. economy. at the same time, the strength of the u.s. economy is due at least in